September is Self-Care Month!

Ah, September! I’m excited to start month #2 of my Happiness Project! Here’s the plan:

September 2010 – Self Care

Focus: Do those things I know (or suspect) will help put me in a positive physical and emotional state.


  • Get More Sleep. I don’t want to make any drastic changes and my expectations are fairly modest given that I still have a youngster who wakes up at night, but I would like to ease my bedtime back from midnight to, say, 10:30. I’m nervous about how this might impact my “Mommy Time,” but I want to give it a try.
  • Take a Daily 10-Minute Walk Outside. I’m already going to the gym three times a week, but I find that I’m more grounded when I spend a little time moving about outside. I hope that getting outside and walking around will help ease the transition from the warm and lovely Utah summer to the rather less warm and often not so lovely (to a non-skier) Utah winter. It worked in North Carolina when my nemesis was the humid summer; I figure I’ll try it with winter here. This is also a way to introduce the idea of mindfulness and walking meditation to my kids.
  • No Sugar or Alcohol. This is the “fast” portion of my Self-Care month. I was inspired by the idea of a fast as a way to clear impediments to reaching my goals and Being my Best Self. I’ve resolved myself to the reality that sugar and alcohol do not bring out the best in me, and I’d like to see what happens when I avoid them entirely for a month. The sugar fast includes processed cane sugar, but allows more complex sugars like honey, fruit juice, maple syrup, agave, and date sugar, which don’t seem to give me as much trouble as refined sugar. I’ve prepared for this fast by ordering a sampler of Ariel de-alcoholized wines and by eating as many gluten-free cupcakes as I can get my hands on. There is an exception for birthdays, though. There are no birthdays in our family in September, but if we go to a party and they have gluten-free, dairy-free cake, I’m eating it.
  • Veggies at Every Meal. I was going to try for the “one pound fresh, one pound cooked” rule for daily veggie intake, but I don’t really know how much a pound of veggies is, and I don’t want to weigh my food. I get fixated on details anyway (like, is it one pound before cooking or one pound after cooking?), and I worry that this kind of rule would result in me getting all worried about the measurements and ignoring the point of eating more veggies, ie, healthier eating. So, veggies at every meal, it is! I’ve already got my Greens Smoothie routine in the morning. Now just to make sure I include veggies at lunch and dinner.

For a complete schedule of my focus areas for the year, click the link to the left.

These resolutions look a little vanilla to me now, but I’ve already instituted a number of self-care practices in recent months. I was having trouble dealing with the “mom of two kids” thing, so I joined a gym (where I work out three days a week), hired a babysitter to watch the kids two afternoons a week, hired a once-monthly housekeeper, and hired a guy to mow and edge twice a month. Those have had pretty significant positive effects, and I will definitely keep doing those (especially the working out), but I’m looking forward to trying some self-care practices that don’t involve spending money.

Along with my new resolutions, I will continue to practice the resolutions I’ve practiced throughout August and to read books about happiness from various disciplines and traditions. I just picked up a stack of happiness books from the library for this purpose (but then decided to read Lev Grossman’s The Magicians first. I’ve got quite the novel habit going, and I just needed one more before submerging myself in nonfiction again).

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